A dog can be considered old or senior at 7-8 years. Slowly, his days change, as his habits and behaviors. If there are horrendous people who decide to get rid of their dog to replace it with a “new” puppy (if you don’t believe it, just go to the nearest shelter and ask), there are many owners who continue to love their dog in the same way, until the end.
Before Argos, I had a wonderful dog, Kira, a mixed breed adopted from a shelter. She has been with us for 14 years and in the last phase of her life, she has given us so many emotions. I want to dedicate this article to her, who taught me how to handle everyday life with a senior dog.
An old dog can still play!
It is true that as they grow old, dogs tend to sleep more. But this does not mean that there are no more opportunities to play! You just need to modify the games, to adapt them to a less active dog. The Kong is perfect for entertaining an old dog, whether he’s already practical or it’s new to him. Olfactory research games can replace runs: the dogs’ nose, in general, continues to work very well even when they are old. Just always remember to do things gradually, doing simpler research in the beginning and complicating it (without exaggerating) as the dog practice. Finally, keep walking your dog regularly. Kira had big problems with arthritis, but when she saw the leash she was again a puppy for a few minutes!
More checks from the vet
Kira only saw our vet once a year for the first 10 years of her life. She has always been very healthy and we only went for the annual check-up and the vaccines. Later, we started to do more checks, that on a couple of occasions turned out to be lifesavers, giving us the privilege of having more time with her. This is why it is important to have complete check-ups on a regular basis. Talk to your vet, he/she will be able to advise you with more detail!
Small changes for a serene old age
When our dog become old, it may be necessary to make little changes to the usual habits. For example, some dogs may need a softer or more orthopedic bed which helps to rest better and soothe bones pain. Getting up and walking could become hard, but we can help our dog with special lifting harness. Our dog’s food must also change: seniors dogs need food which is less caloric and more attentive to new metabolic needs. Even the water bowl should be monitored: some senior dogs drink too much, others too little. It is therefore important to make sure that the dog has more bowls available, measuring the amount of water that he consumes every day.
Do you have experience in managing the daily life of a senior dog? I’d like to read your experience in the comments!